The first things to think about
A responsible owner will first think long and hard about buying a puppy/ dog. A rash decision may cause distress and suffering to the animal and could end up costing the owner a lot more. A puppy will soon become an adult dog that could live for about 13 years or longer.
It's therefore advisable to do some research before buying a dog. What you need to think about is listed below.
- does your lifestyle, such as how you spend your days and evenings, mean that you can offer a dog the things it needs?
- can you make time to spend with your dog?
- is your environment safe for a dog?
- do you have a safe and secure place for your dog to stay?
- will a dog enjoy staying in your environment?
Exercise, training, play
- do you know how much exercise, training and play a growing puppy, or dog, needs?
- can you make sure a puppy/ dog gets enough exercise, training and play?
- do you know how different breeds behave?
- do you know how a puppy might behave when it grows into an adult?
- do you know if any breeds are really friendly?
- do you know if any breeds are very shy?
- do you know if any breeds are aggressive?
- do you know if any breeds won’t like to be near other breeds, or other animals?
- when a dog behaves in a certain way, are you confident that you know what it needs?
The cost of caring for a dog
Work out how much it will cost to keep a dog, so you can make sure you can afford to care for it. During a dog's lifetime (10 to 15 years) the main costs are:
- vet's bills such as vaccinations and neutering
- insurance - in case it's involved in an accident or becomes ill
- paying for your dog to stay in a kennel when you're away
Finding the right dog breed for you
There are many different breeds of dogs. Each breed tends to behave in a particular way and knowing about this will help you choose the dog that's right for you. Although there's no guarantee that a particular dog will behave exactly how its breed behaves. Find out more:
Once you've decided that you are able to offer a dog the time, money and commitment that it needs, you then need to think about where to get the dog. You could re-home an unwanted puppy or buy from a responsible breeder or privately. Find out more:
Helping your new puppy settle in
When you have chosen your new dog, you will need to take it home. For the journey to its new home, it will need a comfortable dog carrier and a cosy blanket. For a longer journey, it will also need water, food and rest stops.
When you have taken your new dog to its new home, make it as relaxed as possible:
- settle your new dog into its new environment
- try to minimize exposure to loud noises
- don’t let children or adults handle the dog too much if it’s nervous
- if the dog shows signs of distress sit quietly and comfort it
- make sure you follow advice the breeder/ seller gives you about ‘socialisation’, this is about preparing the puppy for the world around it
Tips on your dogs diet, creating a safe home, signs of illness and more can be found below:
- Welfare of dogs: the need for a suitable diet
- Welfare of dogs: the need for a suitable environment
- Welfare of dogs: protection from pain and illness
- Welfare of dogs: getting on with other animals
- Welfare of dogs: normal behaviour patterns
Responsibilities of dog owners
Anyone who decides to get a dog becomes responsible for that animal and will need to know about the rules of owning a dog. These include:
- Dog licensing and microchipping
- Controlling your dog in public
- Meeting the welfare needs of the dog
- Dog fouling - this is about cleaning up after your dog in public places